Author

Aylmer, Ontario – My Top 10 Picks

Aylmer, Ontario – My Top 10 Picks

Aylmer is located in southern Ontario just north of Lake Erie on Catfish Creek.  It is 20 kilometers south of Highway 401. It is located on Highway 3 between St. Thomas to the west, and Tillsonburg to the east.

In October 1817, John Van Patter, an emigrant from New York State, obtained 200 acres of land and was the first settler on the site of Aylmer. During the 1830s a general store was opened and village lots sold.

Originally called Troy, in 1835 it was renamed Aylmer after Lord Aylmer, then Governor-in-Chief of British North America. By 1851 local enterprises included sawmills and flour-mills powered by water from Catfish Creek.

By the mid-1860s Aylmer, with easy access to Lake Erie, became the marketing center for a rich agricultural and timber producing area. Aylmer benefited greatly from the construction of the 145-mile Canada Air Line Railway from Glencoe to Fort Erie.

The coming of the Great Western Air Line Railway in 1873 encouraged manufacturing and mills, a foundry, a pork-packing house, a milk-evaporating plant, and shoe factory were among the main establishments. An Airfield for training was established nearby in World War 2 which became the nucleus of the Ontario Police College.

The Aylmer Canning Factory was established in 1879; it packed peas, beans, cider, pickles, vinegar, sauces, meats and fruits.

Imperial Tobacco Canada built a plant in 1945. At its peak, it employed more than 600 full-time and seasonal workers. In its prime, the plant could store 110 million tons of tobacco and had an October to April production capacity of 100 million tons. Of this, 20 to 25 million tons were for export to other countries, making it one of Canada’s leading exporters. The rest of the processed tobacco was shipped to Imperial’s cigarette production plant in Guelph. After declining tobacco sales in Canada, Imperial began downsizing in the 1990s and closed in 2007.

 

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

445 Talbot Street West – Second Empire style, mansard roof, iron cresting, window hoods on dormers – Aylmer Book 1

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

375 Talbot Street West – Italianate, cornice brackets, two-storey tower-like bays, balcony on second floor – Aylmer Book 1

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

Talbot Street West – Queen Anne style, turret,
trichromatic tile work – Aylmer Book 1

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

30 South Street – Georgian, belvedere on rooftop – Aylmer Book

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

52 South Street – Gothic Revival, verge board trim – Aylmer Book 1

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

193 John Street South – Queen Anne style – c. 1899 – Ionic columns with scroll-like capitals – Aylmer Book 1

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

24 Pine Street – McLay-Minielly house built in 1853 in Classical Neo-Grecian (see Renaissance Revival style in appendix) architecture in frame construction of tongue and groove siding; entablature consisting of dentils, bands of moulding, frieze, and architrave; two-storey-high Doric pillars, pediment – Aylmer Book 2

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

150 Sydenham Street East – Italianate, paired cornice brackets, bay window, wraparound porch – Aylmer Book 2

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

111 Sydenham Street East – Queen Anne style, turret – Aylmer Book 2

Archtiectural Photos, Aylmer, Ontario

46 Talbot Street West – Aylmer Town Hall and Municipal Offices – clock tower, dormers, cupola, arched window voussoirs – Aylmer Book 2

Dorchester to Aylmer, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Dorchester to Aylmer, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Thames Centre is a municipality in Middlesex County located in southwestern Ontario a few kilometres east of London.  Communities in the township include: Avon, Belton, Cherry Grove, Crampton, Cobble Hill, Derwent, Devizes, Dorchester, Evelyn, Fanshawe Lake, Friendly Corners, Gladstone, Harrietsville, Kelly Station, Mossley, Nilestown, Oliver, Putnam, Salmonville, Silvermoon, Thorndale, Three Bridges, and Wellburn. Dorchester is the residential and commercial core of the township.

 

Mossley

Until 1840 the Mossley area was an untouched wilderness of pines, maples, and beeches.  The first settlers from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales worked hard to clear the land for farming. They came with few tools but great hope for a better way of life, and they prospered.  In the 1800s this area was known simply as “The Corners”. In 1865 John Henry Amos opened a general store and was the first postmaster.  The name Mossley was chosen from two family names, the Mossips and the Lees. Mossley had a hotel, a cheese factory, a harness repair shop, and there were dressmakers and music teachers.

 

Malahide Township was named for Malahide Castle in Malahide, Ireland, birthplace of land grant administrator Colonel Thomas Talbot in 1810. The township comprises the communities of Candyville, Crossley-Hunter, Copenhagen, Dunboyne, Fairview, Glencolin, Grovesend, Jaffa, Kingsmill, Lakeview, Little Aylmer, Luton, Lyons, Mile Corner, Mount Salem, Mount Vernon, Ormond Beach, Orwell, Port Bruce, Seville, Springfield, Summers Corners and Waneeta Beach.

Architectural Photos, Dorchester, Ontario

31 Mill Road, Dorchester – Mr. Cartwright’s stone house built in 1866 with river and field stones with eighteen inch thick walls – Georgian style. There are ten main rooms. There is a “widow’s walk” or belvedere on the roof with a view of the river from windows on all four sides.

Architectural Photos, Dorchester, Ontario

15 Bridge Street, Dorchester – The Signpost – Gothic Revival, verge board trim on gables

Architectural Photos, Dorchester, Ontario

4026 Hamilton Road, Dorchester – Edwardian with Italianate features, two-storey bay window, pediment

Architectural Photos, Dorchester, Ontario

4088 Hamilton Road, Dorchester – Edwardian with two-and-a-half storey tower-like bay

Architectural Photos, Mossley, Ontario

5391 Elgin Road – Harrietsville-Mossley United Church – former Methodist Church – 1896 – Gothic Revival

Architectural Photos, Port Bruce, Ontario

Port Bruce – #3237 – built in 1854

Palmerston, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Palmerston, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Palmerston is located in Wellington County, west of Arthur, northeast of Listowel, and northwest of Kitchener and Waterloo.

The opening in 1871 of a station on the main line of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway soon to be completed from Guelph to Southampton, provided the nucleus around which a community developed.  In its original concept the railroad was to run from Guelph to Harriston and would not have gone through Palmerston.  Listowel needed to be linked to the railroad and it was decided to bend the route toward Listowel.  It was also decided that a yard with maintenance shops would be needed.  As soon as the railroad decided where it would build, people started buying property around the area for businesses and homes.

Thomas McDowell was the first settler in 1854 on the site.  In 1872 McDowell and William Thompson who owned adjoining land, began selling town lots and by 1873 the community had 150 inhabitants.

In 1873 a branch line to Listowel was completed and a post office called Palmerston, named after Lord Palmerston, a celebrated English statesman, was opened.

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

Main Street – Gothic Revival, dichromatic brickwork, bay windows, corner quoins

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

Main Street – dentil molding, dichromatic brickwork

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

Bell Street – Gothic Revival, verge board trim, fretwork

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

125 James Street

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

485 King Street – triple gable Gothic Revival, dichromatic brickwork, corner quoins, bay windows

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

725 King Street – Edwardian – Romanesque style window voussoirs, fretwork, pediment above verandah

Architectural Photos, Palmerston, Ontario

670 Yonge Street – Gothic Revival, corner quoins

Listowel, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Listowel, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Listowel is located in the municipality of North Perth, northwest of Kitchener/Waterloo, and west of Elmira on Highway 86.

Settler John Binning arrived in 1857 and was the first to create a permanent residence in the area. The community was originally named Mapleton, but the name was changed when a post office was established. The new name was chosen by a government official and refers to Listowel, Ireland (a market town in County Kerry situated on the River Feale, twenty-eight kilometers, or seventeen miles, from the county town, Tralee.) The majority of early settlers were of Protestant Irish origin.

In 1871 the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway extended its line to Listowel. It was joined in 1873 by a second railway, the Stratford and Huron Railway, and Listowel became an important shipping point. The population doubled when industries, including a woolen mill, a sawmill, a planing mill and a tannery, were established. In 1891 the Morris, Field, Rogers Company Ltd began to manufacture Morris pianos in Listowel.

In 1907, hydroelectric and telephone services came to the town with the Princess cinema. During World War II the theater was renamed the Capitol and remains Canada’s oldest operating cinema.

The Campbell Soup Company was a major local employer for 48 years, operating a frozen, food service and specialty food plant in Listowel.  The factory closed in April 2008. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural land located on the Perth Plain, dominated by the beef and pork industries.

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

215 Binning Street West – two-storey, white brick, tower, dormer – originally this was a full three storeys high with a Mansard roof; a fire in 1922 damaged the upper level and a new roof was added in the Queen Anne style; spindle railing around circular balcony, Doric pillars, pediment

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

415 Inkerman Street West – built in two distinct styles – the larger east half is Italianate with paired cornice brackets, iron cresting above porch and above bay window, decorative gable; the smaller west half is rural Ontario design with a verandah

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

370 Inkerman Street West – triple gable Gothic Revival

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

469 Main Street West – Second Empire style, Mansard roof, dormers with window hoods, built of Wallace brick – was once on edge of town and operated as the Last Chance Hotel – last chance for a drink before leaving town

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

507 Main Street West – Queen Anne style with plenty of windows, chimneys and gables

Architectural Photos, Listowel, Ontario

555 Main Street West – Italianate with four-storey tower, belvedere on roof – site of Listowel’s first settler John Binning’s log cabin; the present house is one of the oldest in town, built in 1860, tower and front half added in 1870

Wellesley, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Wellesley, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

The Township of Wellesley is the rural, north-western township of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The township comprises the communities of Bamberg, Crosshill, Hawkesville, Heidelberg, Kingwood, Knight’s Corners, Linwood, Macton, St. Clements, Wallenstein and Wellesley.

The country scenery and rolling hills, along with its small town feel, have transformed the township into a commuter town with the population travelling into the nearby cities of Kitchener and Waterloo for work.

Wellesley Township was surveyed in 1842, but settlers were in this area long before.  The town of Wellesley’s original name was Schmidtsville, derived from its founding settler, John Schmidt.  In 1851, the town was renamed Wellesley after Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the eldest brother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The community quickly grew to be the largest economic centre in rural Waterloo Region with a wood mill, feed mill, grain mill (which still stands after being constructed in 1856), leather tanner, cheese factory, restaurants and housing, and many other businesses that also brought much trade to the town from the nearby farms and farming villages.

When the Waterloo County boundaries were established in 1852 they included the townships of Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich, and North Dumfries.

The first library in Wellesley Village was incorporated in 1900. The current branch is located in the former S.S. No. 16 Wellesley Township public school building. The school closed its doors in 1967.

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

1115 Queen’s Bush Road – Italianate style, hipped roof, dormer

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

1110 Queen’s Bush Road – Queen Anne style

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

1155 Queen’s Bush Road – Queen Anne style

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

1189 Queen’s Bush Road – cobblestone architecture, cornice return on end gable

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

1193 Queen’s Bush Road – Nith River Chop House – Second Empire style – mansard roof with dormers

Architectural Photos, Wellesley, Ontario

Nafziger Road – Edwardian – wraparound verandahs on both storeys, Palladian window, fretwork

Linwood and Erbsville, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Linwood and Erbsville, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

The Township of Wellesley is the rural, north-western township of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The township comprises the communities of Bamberg, Crosshill, Hawkesville, Heidelberg, Kingwood, Knight’s Corners, Linwood, Macton, St. Clements, Wallenstein and Wellesley.

The country scenery and rolling hills, along with its small town feel, have transformed the township into a commuter town with the population traveling into the nearby cities of Kitchener and Waterloo for work.

Wellesley Township was surveyed in 1842, but settlers were in this area long before. The town of Wellesley’s original name was Schmidtsville, derived from its founding settler, John Schmidt.  In 1851, the town was renamed Wellesley after Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the eldest brother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The community quickly grew to be the largest economic center in rural Waterloo Region with a wood mill, feed mill, grain mill (which still stands after being constructed in 1856), leather tanner, cheese factory, restaurants and housing, and many other businesses that also brought much trade to the town from the nearby farms and farming villages.

When the Waterloo County boundaries were established in 1852 they included the townships of Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich, and North Dumfries.

The first library in Wellesley Village was incorporated in 1900. The current branch is located in the former S.S. No. 16 Wellesley Township public school building. The school closed its doors in 1967.

Macton is on the northern boundary line of Wellesley Township, three miles northeast of Linwood, twenty miles northwest of Berlin, three miles east of Wallenstein. Macton was settled later than St. Clements, mostly by Irish people.

Erbsville is located about five miles west of Kitchener.

Architectural Photos, Linwood, Ontario

Ament Line, Linwood – Edwardian, fretwork

Architectural Photos, Linwood, Ontario

5186 Ament Line, Linwood, Ontario – Italianate, with two-and-a-half storey tower-like structure, arched window voussoirs, dentil molding

Architectural Photos, Linwood, Ontario

5297 Ament Line – Gothic Revival, unique shape, cornice return on end gable

Architectural Photos, Linwood, Ontario

5235 Ament Line, Linwood, Ontario – Italianate – cornice brackets, balcony on second floor

Architecural Photos, Linwood, Ontario

3744 Manser Road, Linwood, Ontario – Gothic Revival

Archtiectural Photos, Erbsville, Ontario

Queen Anne style, verge board trim on gables – Erbsville

St. Jacobs and area, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

St. Jacobs and area, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

St. Jacobs is located in southwest Ontario just north of Waterloo. It is a popular location for tourism due to its Mennonite heritage and retail focus. The Conestogo River, which powered the village’s original gristmill, runs through the village.

St. Jacobs was settled in 1819 and was first known as “Jakobstettel” which means “Jacob’s Village” or “James’s Village”. The St. was added to the name simply to make it sound more pleasing and the pluralization was in honor of the combined efforts of Jacob C. Snider and his son, Jacob C. Snider, Jr., founders of the village.

St. Jacobs’ developed as a thriving business community throughout the 1800s with such businesses as a felt factory, tannery, glue factory, flour mill, saw mill, and furniture factory. The village served the needs of surrounding pioneer farm settlements. Situated on Arthur Road, St. Jacobs boasted four hotels by 1852. One of these – Benjamin’s Restaurant and Inn – is still operating today.

St. Jacobs features dozens of artisans in historic buildings, such as the Country Mill, Village Silos, Mill Shed, and the Old Factory. Visitors may watch artisans make pottery, quilts, designer clothes, jewelry, glass vases, woven wall hangings, Tiffany lamps, stained glass doors, miniature doll houses, and more. There are also two blacksmith shops to visit. The Visitor Centre is a Mennonite interpretation center providing information and education on the Mennonite people in the community.

St. Clements, Heidelberg, Crosshill and Bamberg are communities in the Township of Wellesley.

Architectural Photos, St. Jacobs, Ontario

7 Cedar Street – Gothic Revival, verge board trim

Architectural Photos, St. Jacobs, Ontario

20 Isabella Street – Edwardian, second floor balcony

Architectural Photos, St. Jacobs, Ontario

29 Spring Street – Gothic Revival – corner quoins

Architectural Photos, St. Jacobs, Ontario

29 Albert Street – Queen Anne style

Architectural Photos, St. Clements, Ontario

Lobsinger Line, St. Clements – Italianate, hipped roof, pediment

Architectural Photos, Crosshill, Ontario

Crosshill – Gothic Revival, corner quoins

Architectural Photos, Bamberg, Ontario

Bamberg – Cobblestone house

Elmira, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Elmira, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Elmira is the largest community within the Township of Woolwich in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and is located 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the north of the city of Waterloo.

The land comprising Woolwich Township originally belonged to the Huron and then the Mohawk Indians.  The first settlers arrived in Woolwich Township in the late eighteenth century. In 1798, William Wallace, one of the first settlers in the area, was deeded 86,078 acres of land on the Grand River for a cost of $16,364.

In 1806, Wallace sold the major portion of his tract to Mennonites. Benjamin Eby, the secretary of the Germany Company came to the area with his friend Henry Brubacher. The young men liked Wallace’s Woolwich.  Eby returned to Pennsylvania where he formed a land company. The following year, he returned with a barrel of silver dollars, and the Musselmans, Martins, Hoffmans, and Gingerichs to settle in the area. Wallace sold the Germany Company 45,185 acres of land at $1.00 an acre.

In 1834, Edward Bristow became one of Elmira’s first settlers when he purchased 53 acres of land here for 50 cents per acre. A community by the name of Bristow’s Corners was in existence in 1839 when a post office was assigned there.  In 1853 the community was renamed Elmira.  In the 1850s, German settlers moved into the community, including Oswald, Esche, Steffen and Tresinger. Like most of the township, the primary settlers in the Elmira area were Mennonites who still form a significant proportion of the population today. The town still retains much of its traditional Pennsylvania Dutch character.

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

196 Arthur Street South – Gothic Revival, verge board trim – Elmira Book 1

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

80 Arthur Street South – Gothic Revival, verge board trim – Elmira Book 1

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

24 Queen Street – Edwardian – Elmira Book 1

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

53 Memorial Avenue – Italianate – dormer – Elmira Book 1

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

5 Park Avenue – decorative gable, Romanesque style arch on second floor window – Elmira Book 2

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

42 Church Street West – Italianate – Elmira Book 2

Architectural Photos, Elmira, Ontario

Martins Line – Italianate with two-and-a-half storey tower-like bays, cornice brackets
– Elmira Book 2

Elora, Ontario – My Top 5 Picks

Elora, Ontario – My Top 5 Picks

Elora is located in Wellington County on the Grand River and is about twenty kilometers north of Guelph, and twenty kilometers northeast of Kitchener-Waterloo.

Elora was founded in 1832 by Captain William Gilkison, a British officer recently returned from India. Gilkison named the community after his brother’s ship, which was itself inspired by the Elora Caves near Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.

The Elora Gorge, located at the western edge of the village, is one of the most scenic areas in Southern Ontario with its limestone cliffs descending 80 feet into the Grand and Irvine rivers where small caves, rapids, falls and quiet waters beckon visitors.

At the foot of Mill Street stands the Elora Mill, one of the few early Ontario five-storey grist mills still in existence.

David Boyle, born in Scotland in 1842, came to Canada in 1856 and settled in this area.  As a local school teacher, he began an extensive collection of native artifacts and became an archaeological authority.  In 1886, Boyle was appointed the first curator of the Provincial Archaeological Museum in Toronto.  He was dedicated to the study and retention of artifacts and he initiated an active program of excavation and acquisition.  Through his work on Ontario prehistory, Boyle gained international recognition as a leading Canadian archaeologist and anthropologist.

When Elora first established itself as an agricultural supply center in the mid-nineteenth century, farmers coming from the north were greeted by a wagon and carriage factory, a lumber yard, blacksmith shops, and a farm implement enterprise.

Architectural Photos, Elora, Ontario

Reflections

Architectural Photos, Elora, Ontario

Elora Mill Inn – Towering 100 feet above the thundering falls of the Grand River, the Mill at Elora has stood for over 150 years as a symbol of what the combined energies of man and nature can achieve. The Mill was rebuilt mostly of stone after a fire in 1870.

Architectural Photos, Elora, Ontario

120 Mill Street East – Drew House – Italianate style – dormers in attic, single cornice brackets, wraparound verandah with bric-a-brac

Architectural Photos, Elora, Ontario

Geddes Street – Italianate – hipped roof, 2-storey tower-like bay topped with pediment with verge board trim, corner quoins, cornice brackets, voussoirs, dichromatic brickwork

Architectural Photos, Elora, Ontario

Church Street – Walter P. Newman, Banker c. 1854 – dormers in steeply pitched hip roof, Palladian window in dormer

Fergus, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Fergus, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Fergus is the largest community in Centre Wellington, a township within Wellington County.  It lies on the Grand River about 25 kilometers north of Guelph.

The first settlers to this area were freed slaves who formed what was known as the Pierpoint Settlement, named after their leader, Richard Pierpoint. Along with half a dozen other men, Pierpoint was granted land in Garafraxa Township in what is now Fergus.

Adam Fergusson visited Canada in 1831 to investigate emigration for the Highland Society of Scotland.  In 1833 in partnership with a fellow Scot, James Webster, they purchased over 7,000 acres of uncleared land in Nichol Township.  Attracted by the abundant water power, they laid out the town of Fergus.  Webster took up residence there and supervised the settlement’s early development.  The first house was built in 1833, then a hotel, a saw mill, grist mill, church and school.

They established a vibrant economy using the waterfalls on the Grand River as power for local industry. The Scots built solid stone houses, factories and other buildings which have characterized Fergus to this day. Many of the houses and factories built by these early settlers are still in use today.

Originally Fergus was known as Little Falls, because of the scenic waterfalls downtown between the Public Library and the Fergus Market.

St Andrew Street runs parallel to the Grand River on the north side and is the heart of downtown. On the south side of the river is Queen Street where the newly renovated Fergus Market is located.

Architectural Photos, Fergus, Ontairo

296 St. Andrew Street – Thomas Cumming, Carriage Maker – c. 1891 – Gothic Revival, verge board trim on gables, semi-circular window voussoirs with keystones, corner quoining

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Architectural Photos, Fergus, Ontario

265 St. David Street North – James Argo Merchant c. 1867 – Neo-colonial style – hipped roof, two-storey-tall Doric porch pillars topped with pediment with decorated tympanum

Architectural Photos, Fergus, Ontairo

250 St. David Street – Edwardian/Gothic – corner quoins, arched window voussoirs with keystones, pediment

Architectural Photos, Fergus, Ontario

St. David Street – W. G. Beatty, Foundry – c. 1912 – Tudor style

Architectural Photos, Fergus, Ontairo

220 St. David Street – Gothic Revival, corner quoins, single cornice brackets